Why Lyme Disease Ticks Thrive in the North
esearchers from the University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, have studied the rapid increase in Lyme disease in the northern U.S. Only 11 cases of the disease, which annually impacts about 300,000 Americans, were reported in 2015 in Alabama, a state of approximately 5 million residents. Meanwhile, there were 491 confirmed cases in Vermont, with a population of less than 700,000. The researchers studied the life cycle, metabolism and behavior of black-legged ticks, collecting larvae from several eastern areas. They discovered that ticks live longer in cooler temperatures with higher levels of humidity, making northeastern climates ideal, because longer lives mean increased chance of contact. Southern ticks stay hidden underfoot in layers of leaves to stay cool and damp, making them less likely to find a human host than their northern counterparts, which reside on leaves and trees. “There has been a lot of research aimed at finding out what makes blacklegged ticks more efficient hosts for Lyme disease in the north than in the south,” explains Roger LeBrun, an entomology professor at the University of Rhode Island and co-author of the study. “People have looked at everything from the effects of temperature on tick life cycles to the types of animals the ticks feed on. Probably all of these factors play roles, but our results suggest that evolutionary pressure to conserve moisture by staying under the leaf litter surface is a critical factor.”
Healthy Eating Can Improve Bone Density in Women
he importance of calcium for bone health in women is widely known. Now a new study suggests that a diet of foods considered low-inflammatory, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, may help reduce bone loss and fracture risk. Researchers from Ohio State University calculated the dietary inflammatory index (DII) of 160,191 participants using data from the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trials’ baseline food frequency questionnaires. Comparative DII data were then recorded three and six years later among 10,290 study participants to determine any changes in their individual scores. Results were also compared with the number of hip fractures reported annually for the subjects, along with bone mineral density levels from the subgroup. Women with lower DII scores had less bone loss in their hips after six years.
Ginger Relieves Infected Root Canals
esearch from the University of Medical Sciences and Technology, in Khartoum, Sudan, tested the efficacy of ginger, cinnamon and a combination of both in reducing root canal infections. The study tested infections associated with 50 teeth involved in root canals. They were divided into five groups. One was treated with a paste of extract of ginger, another of cinnamon, and another with both of them. The final two groups were divided into a positive control group treated with calcium hydroxide with iodoform paste, and a negative control group was left untreated. The researchers recorded the number of colony forming units (CFU) of bacteria—individual bacteria units capable of growing into a colony—before and after the treatments. The extract of ginger group showed the most effectiveness, with a reduction from 83 CFUs to 26.5, suggesting that ginger may help treat or prevent root canal infections. The cinnamon group saw their status reduced slightly, to 77.8 CFUs, and the combination caused a decrease to 49.7.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something. ~Plato
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